News from the Road

Stay up to date on our road trip!

Written by: Sister Ruth King, SSS

June 15, 2013

Our bus arrived at Yokuts Park in Bakersfield around 3:00 PM. Led by Sr. Simone, we Nuns On The Bus joined the over 150 people from local organizations to deliver a message to Congressman Kevin McCarthy to act on “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Now.”

The rally was started by Fr. Estrada, and with his opening prayer he reminded us that the farmworkers were in the field under the sun (it was very hot that day) working the whole day. Then labor leader Roberto de la Cruz shared his experience of organizing immigrant workers, and Dolores Huerta shared her experience with the United Farm Workers. She journeyed with them for several decades. Although she was over 80 years old, her spirit really inspired me.

Roberto called everyone to gather for the march. Sr. Simone and Dolores Huerta were at the front, and...

Written by: Sister Bernadine Karge, OP

June 15, 2013

Let All My People flourish was my impression of our first stop of the Nuns on the Bus. Throngs of people—parents, students, board members, sisters, friends and neighbors gathered on the parking lot to welcome the Nuns on the Bus. Sister Simone was presented with a bouquet of yellow tulips by children and their mothers who are students in the LAMP—family based education program. S. Simone was delighted to be welcomed home to LA. The group processed through the gate to the courtyard of the school complex for speeches, refreshments, music and mingling.

Leticia Larios, an immigrant mom who joined the program 16 years ago with her children, spoke in clear, correct English of her gratitude for the chance to study English, get her GED and go on to study Early Childhood Education. She now serves on the staff at...

Written by: Sister Charlene Hudon, SP and Sister Marge Clark, BVM

June 14, 2013

Sister Charlene Hudon, SP: Mercado La Paloma is located in the Figueroa Corridor of Las Angeles. It is in a neighborhood which has a vibrant community spirit and diverse cultural traditions.

Upon entering the Mercado, one is greeted by friendly people and colorful shops that offer crafts from Mexico and Central and South America. There are restaurants that serve foods from various countries.

To meet the people’s needs there are large meeting rooms where classes are given to those who want to start a business; they are mentored in technologies and given ESL classes and many other programs. It truly is a multicultural center.

With comprehensive immigration reform how many more places like Mercado La Paloma would provide living-wage jobs and create...

Written by: Sister Therese Randolph, RSM

June 14, 2013

“I had a boyfriend who was undocumented. And one day he was picked up by the ICE. Then he disappeared. He was only trying to support his family back home. That’s why I came to NUNS ON THE BUS. I want to support immigration reform.”

This message from a young woman in her mid-twenties reflected the tenor of participants in a rally outside Rep Campbell’s office. About 150 people welcomed the sisters with signs and cheers. Asked why they came, other responses were:

  • we just finished a course called “JustFaith” and believe immigration reform is a justice issue
  • working in a local parish, I saw the limitations of parishoners not having legal status…no one should have to live in shadows
  • a very strong passion for immigration reform.

The Congressman’s representative...

Written by: Sister Elaine Betoncourt, CSJ

June 14, 2013

Friday morning we awoke to the news that the bus had a flat tire. Fortunately, we were staying at the University of San Diego, and were able to borrow two vans to get us to Friendship Park on time. Since the road to the park was narrow and somewhat rocky in spots we realized that the flat tire was a bit of a blessing.

At Border State Park, our contact, Dan Watman from the Coalition of Friends of Friendship Park, gave us the history of the building of the secondary wall 120 feet away from the primary wall between Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego. He explained that about 30 environmental laws were disregarded as Homeland Security ordered the building of the second wall that extends into the Pacific Ocean. The buffer zone prevents people from visiting with each other through the wall.

Near the ocean...

Written by Sister Marge Clark, BVM

June 13, 2013

Mecca, California! The date capital of the Western World. Unfortunately, the dates are not yet ripe. But the farmworkers are busy with grapes and okra.

Celia and her family live in one of many trailer camps which are serviced with food and education by Sisters of many communities. Sister Carol Nolan, a Sister of Providence, one of these Sisters, organized this segment of the journey and arranged for us to talk with Celia, Lilian, Miguel and other residents of St. Anthony Trailer Park, "Duroville" which is being demolished, and Ave. 77 parks.

Across these three parks are about 280 trailers (fewer than 120 of which have permits); each is owned by a family. Lili told me that as soon as a family is about to move on, another is ready to purchase their trailer home.

In Duravlle, ICE has begun "hanging...

Written by: Sister Pat Murphy, RSM

June 12, 2013

Our evening session was held in Phoenix in the auditorium at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. It was announced in the beginning that the venue was changed because of the number of responses. The auditorium held 200 people and every seat was filled.

Two Sisters of Mercy, Gaye Moorhead and Margaret Mary McBride, were the chairs of the event. Margaret did the welcome in the name of the West Midwest Community. Gaye introduced the Lutheran Bishop who gave the invocation and she also introduced Sr. Simone Campbell. Gaye was one of a lawyers’ group who critiqued Simone’s speech before the Democratic National Convention.

Sister Simone gave a brief history of the trip to date. She then introduced four of the “Nuns on the Bus” who were there to give their impressions and feelings as they listened to our immigrant...

Written by: Sister Elaine Betoncourt, CSJ (Sen. Flake's office) and Sister Gail Young, SSS (Sen. McCain's office)

June 12, 2013

Senator Flake's Office: Upon arriving in Phoenix, three of the "nuns on the bus" were joined by local sisters and others for a lobby visit with Senator Flake's staff. There were a dozen or so in the delegation and although the visit was an extremely brief one, there was opportunity to highlight many reasons why comprehensive immigration reform needs to be enacted now, this summer.

What was so special about this visit were the voices of immigrants expressing their desire to become contributing citizens of the U.S. and the roadblocks they now face, especially the tearing apart of families.

The people who greeted us both before and after the lobby event were the most affectionate folks we've met, giving us...

Written by Sister Mary Ellen Lacy, DC

June 12, 2013

We arrived early to meet the folks waiting for us in Nogales on the border. The mayor of U.S. Nogales greeted us, but the mayor of Mexican Nogales was held up in border-crossing traffic. The mayor told us about the dire sufferings of family separation and discrimination at the border. On the day prior to our arrival, young DREAMers had come to touch, embrace and kiss their mothers through the fence. They had not seen their moms in years because the moms had been deported.

Then the mayor told of a local father, the father and husband of citizens. He had his green card and was working hard to raise his family to be good citizens. He had been repeatedly approached by an undercover officer who tried to sell him food stamps. Initially, he was too smart to fall for this ploy because he knew the purchase of food...

Written by: Sister Marge Clark, BVM

June 11, 2013

Thirteen NETWORK Nuns on the Bus, Driving for Faith, Family and Citizenship visited with Peter Ibarro, Chief of Staff in the Las Cruces, NM office of Congressman Pearce to share ideas on comprehensive immigration reform. Mr. Ibarro was very welcoming; he listened and took extensive notes on stories, data and other ideas that were shared. Five Sisters in the group, residents of the Congressman’s district, exchanged contact information with Mr. Ibarro for later contact.

About 50 supporters waited outside during the lobby visit. Several local immigrants spoke of their situations, and priests, a rabbi and organizers told of their desire and the needs of their people. Rabbi Carroll gave a travel blessing on the bus in both Hebrew and English.